The New Economic Summit 2016 conference is going on in Tokyo, Japan.
Rubin was in charge of Google’s robotics program in 2013, when the company acquired a fistful of some of the most capable and interesting robotics companies in the world.
One of those companies was SCHAFT, which originated at the JSK Robotics Laboratory at the University of Tokyo and is best known for winning the DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials by an absurd amount.
We haven’t heard anything from SCHAFT over the past three years, and all we know is that they’re now part of X, Alphabet’s experimental technology lab. Rubin convinced them to show up to his NEST keynote, and they brought a brand new bipedal robot along with some absolutely incredible video of what they’ve been up to.
UPDATE: An X spokesperson says the SCHAFT presentation “Wasn’t a product announcement or indication of a specific product roadmap. The team was simply delighted to have a chance to show their latest progress.” So it looks like SCHAFT and the rest of the robotics group at X continue to look for specific real-world problems to address.
According to Hornyak, SCHAFT’s new robot “Is designed to be a low-cost, low-power, compact device to ‘help society.'” It can lift 60 kg, travel over uneven terrain, and even tackle stairs, which are notoriously difficult for robots.